Wildlife, Birdwatching & Cultural Highlights of Sri Lanka
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary lies about 20 kilometres west of Bundala National Park, occupying a spectacular section of coastline. Initially founded in 1938, the sanctuary is close to Kalametiya village. The protected area is a combination of dense mangrove forests, wetlands, beaches and two major saline lagoons, all of which help to lure in more than 180 species of birds into an area that is rarely visited by travellers. This could be considered somewhat surprising given the undeveloped palm fringed beachfront that would be many people's idea of paradise!
Some rare bird species you can expect to see here include the Indian reef heron, black-capped purple Kingfisher, glossy ibis and Sri Lanka Junglefowl and much more. Birdlife is very similar to the larger Bundala National Park. For many species of wetland birds, Kalametiya is a critical stop-off on their migratory routes. Flamingos make use of the saline lagoons and also look out for Asian open bills, common snipe and black-winged stilt. Due to the reserve's smaller size, large mammals are generally rare, but keep a sharp eye-out and it might be possible to spot some endemic Sri Lankan species such as the Toque Macaque and the Spiny Rat.
Another highlight of the area is Rekawa Beach, a beautiful beach about 10 kilometres west of Kalametiya. This remote seafront is a fantastic sea turtle nesting area and home of Rekawa Turtle Conservation project. 5 species of sea-turtle come to nest here: Green, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and enormous pre-historic looking Leatherback Turtles. The turtles come to nest here throughout the year, but between April and July it is usually considered the best time to watch these ancient and endangered reptiles digging their nests on this remote beachfront.
Kalametiya Reserve is a great spot to consider if you want to experience a remote, little visited birding site and some truly undeveloped Sri Lankan beaches - with a world class sea-turtle watching and conservation project as an extra bonus. The best way to get the most out of this location is to take one of our expert guides on a private trip, so that we can tailor your experience of the location according to how much time you have and what most appeals of the area: be that a specifically birdwatching focus, turtle focus, beauty of its coastline or a balance of all these elements.
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